Gov. Rick Scott forms group to guide reform for universities

3:37 PM, May 4, 2012   |    comments
Dale Brill will lead the Blue Ribbon Task Force on State Higher Education Reform.
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Tallahassee, Florida - Gov. Rick Scott is creating a task force to focus on reforming Florida's university system.

The governor says he wants to improve the system's ability to boost the economy.

Scott issued an executive order Friday creating the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Higher Education. It's led by Dale Brill, President of the Florida Chamber Foundation.

Brill says Florida has a gap between the type of college graduates coming out of universities and what employers want.

Brill says filling that gap will become even tougher in the next few years because Florida expects to have nearly three million open jobs as a result of retirements and job creation. Half of them will require a degree beyond high school.

"The shocking part of that is when you look deeper at data, better than one out of five Floridians have some college education but don't hold a certificate or don't hold degree. So you see there's a gap then between the output that's needed from the business community and what we're able currently to produce and the anticipated demands between now and 2018."

Gov. Scott wants the task force to study the interaction between the Board of Governors, which oversees the state's universities, and the schools.

Brill says that does not point to a problem. He says the group begins its work without an agenda.

"Sometimes as you can imagine there are task forces or commissions or those types of things, committees that are set up, that sometimes behind the scenes are saying, 'OK, this is the outcome we need.' I can tell you that what I'm excited about is the collaboration but also the open door of, let's look again at the work that's already been done. That will set us in a direction because we'll see both overlap and we'll see whether there's some disparity or there might be some gaps and that's where the opportunities are going to emerge."

Brill says the task force will incorporate much of the work that's been done over the past decade among several groups to reform Florida's higher education system. He sees that work as a helpful foundation for the mission ahead.

The task force will deliver recommendations to the governor by November 15.

Dave Heller

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